Piola in west Fort Worth is on the way back after a fire caused heavy damage in January.
Owner Bobby Albanese received the permit to start the rebuilding this week and the work has already started in hopes of reaching a goal of reopening for business on May 1.
Albanese said the new Piola will be just like the original that customers came to love. The original restaurant opened in September 2007 in a converted house at 3700 Mattison Avenue at the corner of Haskell Street in the cultural district.
A few remaining walls of the house barely stand and the interior is gutted, but Albanese said when reconstruction is complete customers will once again dine in the same homey atmosphere that existed before.
Untouched by the fire, the patio that entertained so many on beautiful afternoons and evenings will be back as well.
Fire investigators determined an overheated electrical cord in the store room started the fire on Jan. 28. The restaurant had closed the night before, and the fire started sometime in the early morning hours and swept through the front of the building.
"If it had been in the kitchen, I'd have expected it. It's a silly fire," said Albanese.
Albanese said the new place will have more outlets and a bigger electrical box to minimize the use of cords.
Damage from the fire inched toward $500,000 though insurance will cover the rebuilding. The fire also put 18 employees out of work and though Albanese helped some find other jobs he hopes all 18 will return to Piola when it reopens.
Until then, Albanese keeps working, too. The catering jobs continue, and anyone interested can contact him at 817-989-0007.
Piola was known as "a place to eat, drink and socialize -- Italian style." Albanese said that tradition will continue May 1.